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Which lens config for Canon 5D in water?

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I have bought a Canon 5D.

 

However, I need some guidance in buying the lens that I'll use underwater.

I have seen underwater photographs using the 5D and a 28mm 1/2.8, and they look good.

 

I was thinking that a zoom lens would be good underwater.

 

Anyone with a 5D with recommendations?

 

I haven't bought the housing, strobes, and lens port yet.

 

Thanks in Advance,

 

- Robert

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You will want a fisheye - either canon or sigma. Both excelent optically, the sigma is cheaper and focuses closer making it a popular choice here.

 

You will also want a macro lens. Either Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm. Again both excelent lenses. Here the desision is what kind of subjets you are after. The 150 is better if you are interested in very small subjects (<2") The 100 is better if you are more interested in larger subjets (8-12") The range between either will work great. I am more into smaller subjects so I went with the 150.

 

Finally you will want a mid range lens for when you want to shoot larger subjects that will not let you get close enough to use the fisheye. Here many people go with a zoom. Either the Canon 16-35 or 17-40. Both good lenses for a zoom, but not as good as a prime. If you want to go with a prime, the 24/1.4 or 35/1.4 are the best, but any of the WA primes will be at least as good optically as the two zooms.

 

I went with the 28/2.8 over of these better primes because I was over budget allready and had to cut something somwhere and this is my least used lens. I will probably end up getting the 24/1.4 before my next trip.

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William,

 

I'm in exactly the same position as Robert- have a 5D but still deciding on lenses, housings etc, and working on a reasonably tight budget.

 

I'm tempted to go for the Sigma 15FE, but am concerned that it's a bit too wide for most of the subjects I'm interested in- particularly seals, sharks, rays etc.

 

I'll probably end up with both a wide zoom (e.g. Canon 17-40) and a FE. In my situation which would you buy first? I've also thought about going for a prime like the Sigma 20mm f1.8.

 

For macro I already have the Sigma 105 which I love using on land, but always use on MF- partly because AF seems a bit slow & hit or miss. Is it best to use MF underwater as well on such a lens?

 

Cheers

 

Fergus

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Fisheye...

Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm...

zoom 16-35 or 17-40....

Primes 24/1.4 or 35/1.4...

 

Thanks for the recommendations!

 

Questions for each scenario...

Which lens port do you use for each, and do you use a diopter adjustment when using the lens port?

 

Thanks in Advance,

 

Robert

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Hi Robert,

 

There are many port and diopter combinations that will work. You haven't said (or I didn't see) what housing you are using. What housing are you interested in?

 

For the 15mm fisheye, you can use a smaller dome port like a 6" and no diopter.

 

For the Canon macro lenses, you'll want a flat port to accept the shorter lens and an extension ring for the longer.

 

For the wideangle zooms you'll need a dome and extension ring. You'll probably want to use a diopter w/ these lenses, but it depends on the size of your dome port. Larger domes sometimes don't require a diopter. Then again, sometimes the lens performs better w/ a diopter regardless of which port you use.

 

For the prines, you'll be able to use them with a large dome, PROBABLY without a diopter, but it just depends. If you have a 9" dome, I've heard that the 24mm f1.4 does not need a diopter. I don't know about the 35mm

 

Cheers

James

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I'd suggest the 17-40mm first for WA, since it's cheaper than the 16-35mm and is arguably just as good. It gives you a lot of flexibility (more than the FE) to shoot stuff like mantas and sharks. Then add the Sigma 15mm FE when you have money to do so, for use with wrecks, closeup reef shots, etc..

 

I'd agree that the Sigma 150mm macro is a great choice as well. With your full frame sensor, I think you'll find the 100mm Canon lens not quite long enough for tiny stuff.

 

I also recommend that you get the 50mm Sigma macro lens. It is an excellent lens for night dives (doesn't require lots of light to focus), is good as a fish lens, yet will allow you to shoot 1:1 macro if you come across some little (albeit not tiny) stuff on the same dive. It is also an easy lens to "learn" with your new system, expecially if you're trying to shoot full manual, which I recommend.

 

Finally, depending on specific housing, try to get an external "wet" diopter that you can put on with the 150mm or 50mm when you need a little more magnification. Woody's diopter is a great choice.

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What housing are you interested in?

 

For the 15mm fisheye, you can use a smaller dome port like a 6" and no diopter.

 

For the Canon macro lenses, you'll want a flat port to accept the shorter lens and an extension ring for the longer.

 

I am interested in the Ikelite 5D housing.

I am looking thinking about getting the 8" dome (5510.81)

I am currently focusing on either the 16-35mm or the 17-40mm zoom for uw shots.

If I get the 15mm fisheye, then I will also purchse the 5510.10 body to attach to the same 8" dome.

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Just got a 5D too, but I don't yet have a housing. I figure that I will wait until the Subal and Aquatica housings are out so that there is something to compare to Ikelite. As far a lenses for underwater go, I got

 

15mm Sigma

17-40 Canon

100 Canon Macro

 

For land use I have the 24-105 Canon Zoom. Although I would love to get this setup wet, I need a few months shooting on land to get a reasonable feel for the camera first. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of time fiddling with the buttons underwater. I feel that the camera mechanics should be second nature before I get it wet.

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Rob and Steve,

 

Here'sa quick short list of lenses I'd recommend after using the Canon 5D in Australia's Coral Sea last month.

 

Sigma 15mm

Canon 17-40L (if at all)

Sigma 50mm macro

Canon 100mm macro

 

These will keep you busy learning for quite a while. As far as housings, the Ikelite 5D housing is available NOW and functions to 200', has TRUE eTTL2 with Ikelite strobes and handles great. The PentaPrism Canon 5D viewfinder works really, really well behind Ikelite's SuperEye.

 

Email me if you want sample photos other than a few quick wide angle on the Ikelite web site. So not to clog up Wetpixel's bandwidth...

 

davidhaas@sbcglobal.net

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one more thing......

 

The spectacular Canon 24-105mm L lens mated with the 5D is great for surface shooting. But I'd forget about using it UW.

 

The other lenses mentioned will cover almost everything else better IMHO.

 

dhaas

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Is it time for crazy ike to jump in with his completely unbiased opinions............?

 

Please do!

I am very interested in the aspect of using diopter lens adaptors with various camera lenses.

 

I know on the Ikelite website, there are recommendations for using +4 diopter adjustments, but I don't know if that applies to both the 6" and 8" dome ports.

 

- Robert

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I've also got the 5D. Rumor has it that my UK-Germany housing is on its way. Can't wait!!

 

We (the wife & I) settled on the following:

 

Canon 100mm Macro with the manual focus capable port

Canon 14mm Aspherical WA under a dome

 

Hopefully I didn't pick the wrong WA but what the heck, we'll find out.

 

I measured the 14mm and I think the 85mm 1.2 might fit the dome too.

I'm really interested in the 85 for use with Alex's Magic Filter.

It is pretty fast and using a high ISO seems altogether possible with the 5D.

 

I can't promise a review of the UW performance as the water is in the high fifties and I'm a wuss but I will post a review of the Housing & Port fit, finish and ergonomics as soon as I get the sucker unpacked.

 

BTW, the 24-105 that folks are mentioning is probably way too slow for UW. It vignettes above water at its widest setting so I'd imagine you'd not be happy with it.

 

The 100mm Macro looks like it will be a really nice lens for portraits as well as Macro.

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Rob and Steve,

 

Here'sa quick short list of lenses I'd recommend after using the Canon 5D in Australia's Coral Sea last month.

 

Sigma 15mm

Canon 17-40L (if at all)

Sigma 50mm macro

Canon 100mm macro

 

 

This is pretty close to what I ended up with in my kit. I am a little curious why you added the sobriquet (if at all) next to the 17-40L. This is an awesome lens, and I suspect that it will be my default lens with the 100mm macro for closeup and portraits. The one lens I really debated was the 15mm since on land it will be used fairly rarely and underwater I worry about it being too wide.

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The one lens I really debated was the 15mm since on land it will be used fairly rarely and underwater I worry about it being too wide.

 

 

I hope that the 14 isn't so UW. I certainly notice that it is a challenge on land.

If the sun is in my face.... well you know how that goes :unsure:

If the sun is at my back I'm constantly fighting my own shadow!

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Is it time for crazy ike to jump in with his completely unbiased opinions............?

 

 

Not to worry Ike! Dhaas did it for you! :o:unsure:

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Rob,

 

The Canon 17-40L is a great lens and for surface work on a Canon 5D produces stellar results. Underwater any zoom will be good, great, or in between depending on what port and / or diopter to sharpen edges combination you try. Plenty of posts here in the past on using wide zooms and related edge sharpness problems. I vaguely recall many zoom users wiht 8" dome ports afdding like +2 or something to sharpen up the edges....James Wiseman might chime inas I think he's had experience with this.

 

This is also an oxymoron as many of these zooms focus to less than 1' and theoretically don't need a diopter to "see" the apprent image a dome port creates..So many zoom shooters are just trying to sharpen their corners a bit by adding a diopter.

 

Using a Sigma 15mm full frame fisheye is what you WANT in a wide lens UW. Allowing you to get close where your strobes will have effect or even for available light to let details be captured. Fisheye lenses can be used UW at certain angles, (not up or down to showcase the cruvature a fisheye lens creates) and to most viewers would just look like a really wide lens. Plus with a fixed prime angle lens you won't have edge sharpness dilemmas as described above.

 

HooverMD in choosing the Sigma 14mm will have a really wide rectilinear lens, which as long as he doesn't include the sun at sharp angles (siince this lens flares Mucho' as posted on surface and UW forums) he might be happy with it UW. Shot at reasonable apertures (f5.6-11) it is very sharp for a non-manufacturer lens....But the Sigma 15mm Fisheye is still a better buy IMHO.

 

Finally, Alex Mustard while using the Nikon 12-24mm zoom occassionally (and maybe more often, Alex chime in please...) has shot so many wide angle pictures with the Nikon 10.5mm full frame fisheye lens on Nikon dSLR bodies. Some look "fisheye", but many don't depending on the angle the photo was shot.

 

I have lately come back to a Sigma 15mm fisheye on ebel XT (and Canon 5D ) and a mid-zoom on my Rebel XT, the Canon's 17-85mm. Plus maybe an occassional macro lens the Sigma 50mm. This simplifies my shooting style allowing me to wring every bit of capability out of a tool versus changing constantly and getting mediocre results due to unfamiliarity with a particular lens.

 

Hope this helps all of you guy's decision making!

 

dhaas

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Thanks alot for your input dhaas. I am very tempted by the sigma 15 FE for the 5D and will probably end up going with the ikelite setup & 8" dome- seems to be the best value. I've used ultra wides quite alot on land in the past, particularly on old film slrs and love the effects you can acheive. It'll be great for things like reef scenics, but I would guess I might still want the versatility of the 17-40 for sharks, mantas etc, which I might not be able to get as close to. Good tip about the dioptre. I think I can use the 17-40 with the ikelite 8" (with a different stalk).

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Does anyone know if there is any difference performance underwater between the Sigma 15mm DG and the older non-DG lens? I recently bought the non DG lens, because I didn't realize that these two lenses are different!

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I very much appreciate Dave Haas' unbiased input here.

 

The Sigma or Canon 15 will have sharper corners than any wide angle zoom behind any dome port. Not a huge issue for a good photograph, but worth mentioning.

 

While the full frame fisheye can be intimidating at first, you might find it becomes your most used wide angle. The fisheye distortion can add a tremendous amount of impact to a photograph when used properly. The lens works well with any approachable subject.

 

Eons ago James Wiseman cut a paper collar for his 14mm lens, and I believe that helped the flare issue. He was using a cropped sensor camera, though. It might be useful to see if you can add a little more shade without vignetting the lens, and a shade on the dome port would be a requirement for me with that lens. I used it with Light & Motion's Titan Dome Port (generously shaded) and did not have a flare issue. With Sea & Sea's NX Fisheye Dome (not generously shaded) I did.

 

I have not seen the 5510.81 Ikelite port tested w/ either the 17-40 or 16-35, it will be interesting to see how the combo works.

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Ryan is spot on with his comments, too. I didn't mean to imply the Sigma 14mm rectilinear lens is bad. In fact it's quite sharp! Flare is one of those things certain photographers whine about and others learn to not shoot into the sun at such sharp angles and thus have very few problems.

 

Maybe James will chime in about his "low tech" shade solution :unsure:

 

Also, the new Ikelite 8" dome with the correct extension is something I didn't test in Australia on the Canon 5D as I donn't own a Cano 17-40L or 16-35mm. But based on 8" dome results with Canon's 10-22mm on a cropped sensor Canon camera (practically equal to the Canon 17-40L or 16-35mm on the Canon 5D full frame sensor) I'd bet the results would be acceptably sharp for most UW shooters.

 

YMMV !!!

 

dhaas

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I recently shot with my 5D underwater in a modified Sea & Sea DX-30/60 with the 17-40L lens - I found that the corner sharpness was good on shots that were further back (6ft or so) but on close-focus wide-angle, the corner sharpness was a little soft (as it was with this lens on the 20D/D60). However, with a diopter (I've played with both +2 and +4) I've gotten good results - the best corner sharpness is with the +4 on close-focus shots. I'll post crops if I can pull them up. I plan to get in the pool this week with the Aquatica 5D housing, and will test sharpness then also. Hope this helps.

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HooverMD in choosing the Sigma 14mm will have a really wide rectilinear lens, which as long as he doesn't include the sun at sharp angles (siince this lens flares Mucho' as posted on surface and UW forums) he might be happy with it UW. Shot at reasonable apertures (f5.6-11) it is very sharp for a non-manufacturer lens....But the Sigma 15mm Fisheye is still a better buy IMHO.

 

 

FYI, this lens is the Canon 14mm.

As to the flare I can attest to the issue above water for sure!

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I encountered problems with the Canon 16-35 behind the Ike 6" dome(5503.55). There was a large amount of blurring (it seems to be caused by refraction) at the edges of the frame. On a 1.5 crop camera I doubt the blurring would be too noticeable. I suspect the 17-40 may suffer a similar fate.

 

Ike graciously offered to send me an 8" dome with a couple of stalks for testing. I'm planning on testing various combinations of ports, stalks and diopters. I’ll post the results when I’m done (I don’t have a 17-40 to test, but f someone in Wisconsin would like to find out how it works in the 8†feel free to let me know).

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I encountered problems with the Canon 16-35 behind the Ike 6" dome(5503.55).  There was a large amount of blurring (it seems to be caused by refraction) at the edges of the frame.  On a 1.5 crop camera I doubt the blurring would be too noticeable.  I suspect the 17-40 may suffer a similar fate.

 

Sounds like what you see when the lens needs a diopter. Next time try it with a +4 diopter and I bet you will get satisfactory results behind the 6" dome.

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